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Deborah Petrik

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Dr. Deborah Petrik


  • Assistant Professor

Office Location

  • Tahlequah
    Science Building 142
    (918) 444-3831


I got my B.S. and M.S. in 1994, and 1996, respectively, both from University of Illinois. I was an Agriculture major interested in genetic engineering in crop plants, to make them resistant to diseases, have higher yields, etc. I was the first person in my immediate family to get their college degree. Over the next 13 years, I worked for two agricultural biotech companies before returning to college to obtain my PhD from Illinois State University in 2015. I went on to post-doc at Penn State University, where I got to teach in addition to performing research. I then taught as a Visiting Asst Prof at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN for one year before arriving here. I love to hike, fish, camp, and play with my two young dogs.


  • PhD, Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, 2015
  • MS, Agronomy, University of Illinois, 1996
  • BS, Agricultural Sciences, University of Illinois, 1994
My research interests lie in studying plant cell wall biosynthesis, and its modification during development and as a response to stress; particularly aspects that make grasses unique from other plant types. This research has applications in food, biofuels, and textiles.
I love teaching genetics and molecular biology lecture and lab courses. I have experience in teaching flipped classrooms as a Post-doctoral Researcher/Educator at Penn State. I am excited to mentor students interested in research as well.

Intellectual Content:

  • CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Genome Editing of the Model Grass Species Brachypodium distachyon (Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New), Teaching & Learning, Published, July (3rd Quarter/Summer), 2020
  • BdGT43B2 functions in xylan biosynthesis and is essential for seedling survival in Brachypodium distachyon (Journal Article, Academic Journal), Discovery, Published, April (2nd Quarter/Spring), 2020
  • BdCESA7, BdCESA8, and BdPMT utility promoter constructs for targeted expression to secondary cell-wall-forming cells of grasses (Journal Article, Academic Journal), Discovery, Published, February, 2016
  • pCoumaroylCoA:monolignol transferase (PMT) acts specifically in the lignin biosynthetic pathway in Brachypodium distachyon (Journal Article, Academic Journal), Discovery, Published, March, 2014

Courses Taught:

  • GENETICS LAB - BIOL 3114 - Fall 2020
  • GENETICS - BIOL 3114 - Fall 2020
  • INTRO BIOLOGY I LAB - BIOL 1011 - Fall 2020
  • MOLECULAR BIOLOGY - BIOL 4543 - Fall 2020
  • RESEARCH IN BIOLOGY - BIOL 4411 - Fall 2020